Knowing what to do in the face of a medical emergency could be the difference between life and death. According to the American Heart Association, “CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.” Thanks to organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, anyone can become trained in basic CPR and first aid. These skills can be invaluable when someone is in acute medical distress and there are no trained medical professionals in the immediate area.
Applying CPR and first aid skills in a real life situation, like a highway accident or other emergency, is not something to be taken lightly, even with training. Many have asked whether or not they can be sued later for potentially doing more harm than good. Good Samaritan laws exist on a state by state basis that offer some protection to non-medical responders.
Regarding CPR, Virginia’s State Code, protects any person who “in good faith and without compensation, renders or administers CPR . . . whether at the scene of a fire, an accident, or any other place, or while transporting such person to or from any hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, or other medical facility,” as such person “shall be deemed qualified to administer such emergency treatments and procedures and shall not be liable for acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such emergency treatments or procedures.”
Nationally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in basic CPR and First Aid.
How Do You Get Certified in CPR and First Aid Training in Virginia?
First Aid classes are widely available in most cities. You can search online at redcross.org or call your local hospital to see what is available. Upon completion you may be presented with a certificate that is valid for a couple years. As medical professional learn more about treating injuries, cpr and first aid training protocols are often updated, so even if you have been previously trained you may want to consider refresher courses at certain intervals of time.
It is important to remember that basic CPR and first aid training does not make you a medical professional. Medical professionals are extensively trained in a controlled environment and there is no substitute for experience. That being said, possessing these valuable skills and acting within reason could be enough to someday save a life.